Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said Monday that his department was "not able to conclude to any substantive degree" that the University of Virginia gang-rape described in a Nov. 19, 2014 Rolling Stone article actually happened.
Longo disputed several points made in the article, including the accuser Jackie's claim that she received no help after reporting the incident to campus officials. The police chief said that police spoke with Jackie in May 2014, after she claimed to school officials she suffered a second attack.
At that time, Jackie claimed a group of four men called her name and threw a bottle at her head when she turned around. She claimed at the time that her roommate had to pull shards of glass from her face.
The roommate denied this to police. The injury was described as an abrasion and not the result of blunt-force trauma.
Jackie refused to file a report with police at that time.
After the Rolling Stone article was published, police again tried to interview Jackie, but she brought a U.Va. dean and a lawyer and refused to speak. Another officer at the press conference said that a follow-up message from the lawyer said in no uncertain terms that Jackie would not cooperate with the investigation.
Longo also said the Charlottesville police tried to obtain records from Jackie's meetings with U.Va. Dean Eramo, but that Jackie wouldn't sign a waiver releasing them.
Longo then detailed what has already been reported by other news outlets that Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where Jackie was allegedly raped, didn't throw a party the night described in Rolling Stone. Further, Jackie's claim that her date that night took her to the party fell apart when it was discovered the various people she claimed as her date did not exist.
Longo emphasized that "the case is not closed by any stretch of the imagination," and are looking for anyone who has information to come forward.
One clue as to the origins of Jackie's rape claim came from her first meeting with a school dean in 2012. Her grades had been falling, and after being asked about them, she brought up the rape claim.
Longo did bring up one point that I know will anger activists, and that is the importance of police involvement in rape and sexual assault allegations.
"Having police involvement in the early stages of an investigation is extremely, extremely important," Longo said, because evidence disappears and witnesses forget.